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Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians,
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Bridge construction worker Fred Johnson is raising his twelve year old daughter after his wife's death, but when he is killed suddenly in an accident, responsibility falls to his two friends, Buzz Blackwell and Axel Swenson. They bring young Pat to New York, but are given the brush by Fred's well-to-do brother and his socialite wife. They end up making contact with her elderly great-uncle, an unsuccessful vaudevillian, and his wife, who are only too happy to raise the youngster. Unfortunately the money that would make that possible is used by Axel to buy a failing Swedish restaurant drowning in red ink. In order to salvage their investment, Buzz comes up with a novel idea. Written by
A decent diversion but my least favourite of the Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection
Having enjoyed all the other films in the collection and being someone who's always liked Bing Crosby's voice, If I Had My Way was definitely going to be given a viewing. It is far from a bad film at all, in fact it is a decent one but of the Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection it was the one I enjoyed the least. I have to agree with those who didn't like El Brendel, he mugs constantly here and it gets annoying and way too much. The story is also the least engaging of the collection, admittedly the story wasn't a strong suit in any of the five films in the set but the story in If I Had My Way came off as contrived and routinely predictable with in some points a serious need of spark and less sentimentality. That Bing didn't have a love interest this time round was the only thing that came across as a surprise. The humour could have been much stronger too, it has its moments like with the squirrel who is hilarious and the dialogue between Bing and Gloria Jean was appropriately snappy but the other four films had tighter and smarter scripting and Brendel's mugging does bog it down further. If I Had My Way does look very good, the costumes and sets are handsomely done and the photography is far from cheap. The film is sensitively scored, with lush melodic writing that avoids the too-syrupy trap and it's far from forgettable. The songs are bright and breezy, especially the upbeat I Haven't Time to be a Millionaire and the haunting title song that was sung in a way that only Bing could do. Bing sings as richly and beautifully as always and gives a performance that is charismatic and relaxed, matched very well by the very likable and photogenic Gloria Jean, who sings like a lightly-voiced angel. The two work very believably together. The supporting players apart from Brendel are solid, they're by all means not as strong as Crosby and Jean but don't disgrace themselves. All in all, decent but not among Bing Crosby's best. Worth seeing but not a must-own in my opinion. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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